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World Modern Foraminifera Database
Hayward, B.W., Cedhagen, T., Kaminski, M., Gross, O. (2011). World Modern Foraminifera database. Available online at Consulted on yyyy-mm-dd

Dedicated website
Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

A world checklist of Foraminifera, compiled by taxonomic experts and based on peer-reviewed literature. more

Foraminifera (‘hole bearers’) or forams for short, are a large phylum of amoeboid protozoans (single celled) with reticulating pseudopods, fine strands of cytoplasm that branch and merge to form a dynamic net. They usually produce a test (or shell) which can have one or more chambers, and are made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or mineral grains or other particles glued together. The tests are usually less than 0.5 mm in size, but the largest can be up to 20 cm across. Foraminifera are among the most abundant and scientifically important groups of marine organisms. The tests of recently dead planktic foraminifera are so abundant that they form a thick blanket over one third of the surface of the Earth (as Globigerina ooze on the ocean floor). Foraminifera are essentially marine- and estuarine-dwelling protozoans, living in all environments, from the greatest depths up to the highest astronomical tide level and from the equator to the poles.

The importance of foraminifera comes from the use of their fossil tests in biostratigraphy, paleoenvironmental studies, and isotope geochemistry. Their ubiquity in most marine sedimentary rocks, often as large, well-preserved, diverse assemblages, has resulted in their being the most studied group of fossils worldwide. Because modern foraminifera have attracted little interest from biologists, paleontologists have been forced to undertake most studies, including genetic research, on the living fauna.

The list of currently accepted names is at least 90% complete, but the taxonomy of many species still needs revision. Newly described species will be added as soon as possible after publication, a task that will be undertaken continuously by the editors. There is currently no broad consensus available for the higher classification of the Foraminifera. Here, the classification given in Loeblich and Tappan (1987 and 1992) is mostly used, but is recognised as being in a state of revision. The results of ongoing molecular phylogenetic investigations will certainly help to stabilise the taxonomic system in the future.

This site has the following aims:

  • to provide a catalogue of the world's foraminiferal species
  • to promote stability in foraminiferal nomenclature
  • to act as a tool for higher taxonomic revisions and regional monographs

Biology, Biology > Ecology - biodiversity, Biology > Plankton
Marine, Classification, Plankton, Species, Taxonomy, World Waters, Foraminifera

Geographical coverage
World Waters [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
From 1758 on [In Progress]

Taxonomic coverage
Foraminifera [WoRMS]


Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ), moredatabase developer

Related datasets
Published in:
WoRMS: World Register of Marine Species, more

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Literature research
Metadatarecord created: 2012-07-16
Information last updated: 2013-04-23
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